Thursday, September 20, 2018

#51: FAIRY MUSIC




THE ONLY OTHER THING I know about fairies is that they love music. All sorts. Jazz, rock, big band, hip-hop, they love it all.

That is, except for country music. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not all country music they hate. It’s them old cowboy songs. Just like Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

Personally, I love it. But the fairies? To them it’s like running your fingernails over a chalkboard while chewing aluminum foil, only more annoying. For them the sound is, to put it in the simplest possible terms, unbearable. To hear such music tends to make them head for the hills. It’s about the only thing I know of that will stop them.

I’d known this going in, so I’d bought what they call a burner phone in Eudora once I’d gotten the call.

Cell phones aren’t something I know much about, I don’t own one myself. So I’d had to take it out to the Great and Powerful Frank, my wizard friend who’d helped me out with the Maggie Keaton kidnapping case. Frank loaded the song onto the phone, then set the alarm to go off at thirty minutes past Two this morning. He, of course, used the song as the alarm tone, and set the volume for its max. All I had to do was carry the phone in my coat pocket and stall.

See, while I didn’t know exactly what it was the fairies were up to, I figured that they would try and throw me under their spell. Which they did. I mean, it’s what fairies do.

What I didn’t know was how the song might affect me while I was mesmerized. My hope had been that the spell would break and I’d be free to clean house. On that one, I was right.

The fairies continued to scream, most of them zooming off to parts unknown.

“What’s going on?” Jake said. He had tears in his eyes and his body trembled and shook.

I hadn’t taken into account what he might go through once he was out from under their spell. To his credit, he took it better than most.

“Can I go home now?” Jake asked.

The thing about being put under a fairy spell is that when it’s all over, you remember everything that happened. If they wanted you to dance wearing a hamburger costume, you would do it. And after, you’d remember and feel the embarrassment and shame that might come with dancing in a hamburger suit. Or, in the case of young Jake, if you allowed yourself to be taken from the safety of your home, at only eleven years old, and then agreed to be tied to a tree, an act that cut into your flesh and caused you to bleed, well… that would just plain rattle some folks.

“You bet,” I told Jake. “I’ll get you home. Don’t you worry. But first we got to get a look at those wrists. I have a first aid kit back in my Scout. But it’s a hike. You up for it?”

“Yes, sir,” he said. He was looking up at me, his eyes still full with tears.

For that image alone I wanted to gun down each and every one of tiny little winged bastards. Most of them, however, had fled. Nona, had remained behind, her hands over her ears, tears streaming down her face. Lance was nowhere to be seen.

I took the phone from my pocket and touched something on the screen. The music died.

Relief shown on Nona’s face and she took her hands from her ears.

“Thank you,” she said. “That noise is the worst.”

I pointed a gun at her.

“I only hit snooze,” I said. “That means that in five minutes that music is gonna start up again. Meaning you got three hundred seconds to tell me why I shouldn’t shoot you here and now.”

“First,” Nona said, looking ever so petulant. “You can’t kill me. We’ve gone over this. So shooting me isn’t a threat at all. Second…”

She looked down for a moment and when she looked up, I could see guilt in her eyes.

“It wasn’t my idea,” she said. “I tried to talk him out of it, but Lance said that if we controlled you then we could stay here forever.”

“Stay here?” I said. “What do you mean?”

“We aren’t supposed to talk about it,” Nona said. “All I can say is that this world, your world, isn’t our home.”

“Then why are you here?” I said. “And where is your home?”

“We’re here as punishment,” she said.

“What are you saying?” I said. “Are you trying to tell me that you’re criminals and Earth is your prison? What, are you aliens?”

I laughed. I mean, there’s no such thing as aliens.

“We aren’t aliens,” she said, looking annoyed once again. “Don’t be so stupid. And no, we aren’t criminals, though this is a prison. Or at least, they think it is, the elders.”

“I don’t understand-” I began, but was interrupted by a streak of green light and a stab of pain across the bridge of my nose.

I put a hand to my nose as the green light fled into the distance. The hand came away bloody.

“What’s this, Nona?” I asked, anger creeping into my voice.

“I—” she backed away, fear showing on her face. “I’m sorry, Norman.”

Another streak of green light, another stab of pain, but this time across my forehead. More blood.

“It’s Lance,” Nona said. “He wants you d—”. But that was all she said. The green light hit her before she could finish her sentence and she fell to grass and did not move.

Suddenly Jake and I were surrounded by every color in the rainbow. I stripped off my long coat.

“Get down, Jake,” I said. “Make yourself into a ball.” The boy did so and I threw my coat over him as the lights circled us in almost a lazy fashion, like they had all the time in the world. I was hoping my coat would provide Jake with some protection once the swarm decided to strike but, to be honest, I’d never been in a situation like this before.

I pulled both pistols and thumbed back the hammers. The swarm continued to circle.

“What are you waiting for?” I shouted, my voice echoing out into the stillness of the night.

But the five minutes were up. The snooze limit on the phone ended, and the song played out once again from the pocket of my coat. The reaction this time however, was quite different.

The fairies screamed as if in one voice and shot directly at the sound, my coat, and young Jake who lay huddled beneath it.






Are you caught up on Volume One? Wouldn't it be cool if you could own the first volume, all 47 parts, on eBook, paperback, or both?

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

#50: FAIRY MAGIC




I’M NOT ONE WHO uses chemicals to alter my state of mind. But then, because of my rapid healing, there ain’t much that can alter my state of mind. Not unless I imbibe more than what your average bowling team can handle. And frankly, that can get expensive.

But that doesn’t mean I ain’t susceptible to magic.

Fairy magic ain't all that strong. By that I mean that they can’t do a whole lot with it. Not like a wizard.

They can make themselves invisible, though they don’t seem to like to. They can use their magic to lift objects that someone their size would never be able to lift, though they are mighty strong. But the most popular weapon in their magical arsenal is the ability to mesmerize. In other words, they cloud your brain and, in essence, put you at their command.

There are limits, of course, and one alone isn’t enough to put a spell on someone. No, it usually takes a swarm.

As I watched the lights spin and dance, everything made sense to me.

Family.

Live with Nona and her clan.

Family.

Jake would be like the little brother I never had. And the others? Well, like I said, I ain’t never had a family before.

“Is this where we’ll live?” I asked Nona.

“The tree,” she said. “The tree is now your home.”

“It’s a bit small,” I said, frowning.

Nona glared at me and I felt a deep shame course through me.

“Sorry,” I said. “It’s beautiful.”

Nona’s sour face was quickly replaced by joy. It made my heart soar.

A green light broke off from the circle where Jake stood, laughing. The green light zigged and zagged before coming to rest next to Nona. The light dimmed and I could see a male fairy dressed in baggy jeans and a basketball jersey from some local team. I’ve often wondered where the fairies get their tiny clothes. Must be another one of their magical abilities.

“Why are you wasting your time talking to this stupid giant?” The fairy had spiked green hair and looked as if he’d just spent the better part of the last hour sucking on lemons.

“Shut up, Lance!” Nona yelled. “You don’t tell me what to do.”

“Well, but I think I do,” Lance said. “You need to fly back to the circle before I send you home.”

I glanced over at Jake and noticed that he’d started dancing.

“We’re already home, Lance,” Nona said.

“Not this home,” Lance said. “Home home. Now move.”

Nona’s eyes grew wide and she zoomed off, her orange light merging with the others.

“Norman Oklahoma,” Lance said, floating high enough so that he could look down his nose at me. “I have a task for you.”

“Anything,” I said. And I’d meant it too.

“First,” he said. “You will call me ‘My Lord’.”

“Yes, My Lord,” I said. “Of course.” I wanted to slam my head into a rock, punish myself for not calling him ‘My Lord’ this whole time.

“Next, I want you to prove to me that you can be useful,” Lance said.

“Anything, My Lord. I’ll do anything.”

“I want you to shoot something for me, Oklahoma.”

“Of course, My Lord,” I said and drew both of my pistols. I thumbed back the hammers. “What would you like me to shoot?”

The fairy thought about it for a moment, crossing his arms and holding his chin in one hand as he mulled it over. He looked very impressive.

“I’m told you’re good,” Lance said. “Is that true.”

“Yes, My Lord,” I said. “Very good.” I looked around for something to shoot. I needed to show him how good I was.

“Wait here,” he said. “I’ll be right back.” And like that he was surrounded once again by a bright, green light.

I watched the green ball of light as it streaked off toward the farmhouse in the distance. In seconds he was on his way back and before I could blink he was once more in front of me. He held an apple over his head. It was three times his size, but he carried it with ease. Before I could ask, he tossed the apple high into the air, much higher than I could have.

“Shoot it out of the sky for me,” he said.

I smiled, took aim, and fired. The apple exploded as it had started its downward arc. Lance laughed and clapped his hands. I’d never felt more proud of myself in my entire life.

He was off once again, this time returning with a chipped concrete garden gnome the size of my head. This too he tossed into the air.

“Destroy!” Lance shouted.

I fired once, blowing the gnome’s head into pieces. Two more quick shots and the rest of it went the way of the head. Lance laughed in delight.

Some of the other fairies had broken off from the circle to watch. Nona and her orange hair was among them.

Lance was off once more. Within seconds he was back, this time with a small, portable stereo. Up it went, and as with the others, I shot it to pieces.

The fairies all cheered.

This went on for some time. Lance zooming off to return with an object he’d acquired at the nearby farmhouse. A basketball, then an outdoor light bulb, a bowl of some sort, and then finally, a small dog.

Lance tossed the dog into the air. The dog howled as it rose.

“Shoot it!” Lance shouted.

I didn’t move.

“SHOOT IT!” Lance screamed. “SHOOT IT NOW!”

“I—I can’t.” It was true. I couldn’t move. All I could think about was Trinity, the three headed dog I’d found a few weeks back in the Brotherhood’s labyrinth. I’d grown quite attached to her, though we’d only spent a minute or two together. Then she’d disappeared.

“You CAN’T!” Small puffs of smoke issued from the fairy’s ears.

A few of the other fairies booed and hissed as the dog fell from the sky. I’d noticed that Nona wasn’t among them. She was there, sure, but she was quiet with a sad look in her eyes.

“I’m sorry, My Lord,” I said. And I was. A part of me anyway. There was something inside tugging at me, urging me to shoot the dog, and I wanted to. God help me I did. But something else inside of me fought against the pull.

Lance caught the dog and then dropped it into the grass. The dog ran.

“This is why I took the boy, Norman Oklahoma,” Lance said. “I knew the moment I did you would come running.”

“You didn’t want me?” Jake was suddenly there next to me.

“Of course not, stupid boy,” Lance said. “What would I want with a useless child. You were bait. I wanted Norman to be mine.”

“Your friend?” Jake said.

Lance screamed in frustration. More smoke puffed from his ears. It wasn’t at all cute as one might imagine. Instead, it was near to one of the most terrifying things I’ve seen, and I’ve born witness to many a frightening thing in my day.

“GROSS!” Lance shouted. “A HUMAN FRIEND!? YOUR ARE A STUPID, GROSS, STUPID, GIANT BOY!”

Then, quite suddenly and as if from nowhere, a song began to play. From the first note it was as if the clouds had parted and I could see clearly for the first time. Furthermore, I recognized the song. Tumbling Tumbleweeds by Sons of the Pioneers, the 1946 version.

All of the fairies began to scream.






Are you caught up on Volume One? Wouldn't it be cool if you could own the first volume, all 47 parts, on eBook, paperback, or both?

Good news, Awesome Reader, you can purchase The Adventures of Norman Oklahoma Volume One now.

JUST CLICK HERE or click the cover below.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

#49: FAIRY LORE




I KNOW VERY LITTLE about fairies, and what I do know doesn’t make a lot of sense.

For example, I know that they like trees. But not any tree. It has to be old. I get that, I suppose. The older the tree the longer it’s been connected to the pulse of the earth or some such. But as much as they like old trees, they prefer those that stand alone. That’s what I don’t get. Like I said, I’ve asked, and if you’ve ever tried to ask a fairy anything then you understand the meaning of the word futile.

Fairies dislike questions. They ain’t secretive or nothing, they just find them annoying. Like they ain’t got time to be messing with such nonsense. Most fairies ain’t willing to explain much of anything and just asking them a question tends to put them off. But the one time I finally got an answer, it went right over my head.

“A forest is too noisy,” I was told. “One tree is nice and quiet. Means we don’t have to do what they tell us.”

See what I mean.

But then, that’s fairies. If it weren’t for the wings, the height, and the magic, I’d think they were nothing more than bored teenagers in a small town with nothing to do but make a nuisance of themselves.

“You ain’t excited to see me, Nona?” I said, keeping the barrel of the gun trained on the fairy. We’d had our share of run ins over the years, but I’d never known her to do something like this.

“Should I be?” said the fairy. “You’ve only come to ruin our fun. Again.”

“Come on, Nona,” I said. “You know better than that. You kidnapped a child.”

“So?” she said, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

“Well, you should know that that’s something I’m gonna have issue with. Playing pranks is one thing. You want to drop water balloons on people or toilet paper a house, I’m likely to look the other way cuz no one’s getting hurt. But you have to have known that I’d draw the line at this.”

“Maybe I did,” she said. “So what. We’re just having fun.”

“The boy’s family is worried, Nona.”

“Family.” She said the word with such scorn that I wouldn’t have been surprised if fire had shot from her eyes. “He doesn’t like his family. They’re mean to him.”

“Oh?” I said. “And how’s that? How are they mean to him?”

“They wouldn’t let me go to the movies last night,” Jake said. “I wanted to see the new Walter movie and they said I was too young.”

“Walter?” I said. “You mean them Walter Dark movies?”

“Yeah,” Jake said. “All my friends have seen it.”

“Well dang, Jake, that’s one of them slasher movies. You are too young for such a film. They’re more than graphic.”

“I can handle it,” Jake said. “I’m the only one in school who hasn’t seen it.”

“I highly doubt that,” I said. “Is that it? Is that how they’re mean to you? By not letting you see the kind of movie that would give you nightmares for weeks?”

“You don’t understand,” Jake said.

“Yeah,” Nona said. “You don’t understand. Jake wants to live with us now.”

“Does he?” I said. “Is that why you have him tied up?”

“We were just coming to let him lose,” she said, glaring down her nose at me. “But then you showed up.”

She buzzed off a little to the left. I kept the gun trained on her.

“Stop pointing your stupid gun at me,” she said. “You’re so dumb. You and your stupid guns. Guns can’t hurt fairies. We’re invincible.”

“Now that’s not necessarily true,” I said.

“Yes it is!”

“Sure, this gun here won’t kill you. I know that and you know that. But you also know that if I were to fire this here gun, I’d hit you. And while it might not kill you, it’s sure gonna hurt like the dickens.”

“So?” she said. “You don’t scare us. You’re just big and stupid like all the other humans. Leave us alone!”

“Why don’t you go ahead and untie young Jake there,” I said. “You say he wants to stay. Prove it. Let him go.”

Nona rolled her eyes again. But then she turned to the others who were still buzzing here and there so fast that they were just lights streaking by. She shouted out in the fairy language and two of the lights broke off from the group and zipped over to Jake. A few seconds later the rope that bound him to the tree fell away.

Jake took a few steps back, massaging his wrists. They had been bleeding from where the rope had dug into his skin. I don’t think he was even aware of it. He was smiling, and he moved like a drunk.

“Jake,” I said “Let me take you home. Your parents are worried sick.”

“No,” he said. “I am home.”

“You got a spell on him,” I said to Nona.

To prove my point Jake walked into the the center of the circling lights, laughing.

“Go away, stupid giant,” Nona said.

“Yeah,” Jake called out. “Take off, dude.”

“You know I can’t do that,” I said, watching the lights as they circled the boy. They moved so fast that they were all just one solid line now, as if Jake stood in the center of a multicolored neon ring.

“Maybe you want to stay too?” Nona said.

That sounded like the best idea I’d heard all day. Heck, all week.

“Maybe I do want to stay,” I said.

“Maybe you want to be a part of the family?”

“Family,” I said, holstering my pistols. “Ain’t never had family before.”

“We’ll be your family, Norman Oklahoma,” Nona said.

Like I said, I don’t know much about fairies. What I do know, however was that had I been in my right mind at that moment, I would have opened fire.






Are you caught up on Volume One? Wouldn't it be cool if you could own the first volume, all 47 parts, on eBook, paperback, or both?

Good news, Awesome Reader, you can purchase The Adventures of Norman Oklahoma Volume One now.

JUST CLICK HERE or click the cover below.